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Fiber glass use in Yemen

Post Time:Nov 13,2008Classify:Industry NewsView:491

Water tanks made of fiberglass are resistant to high humidity and hence are popular in the coastal areas. 

Fiberglass, also known as glass fiber, is a material made from very thin threads of glass. It has the virtue of a good weight to strength ratio, rust resistance, and ability to be molded in a wide variety of ways. Used as a reinforcing agent for many plastic products, the resulting material, known as glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) is commonly, although erroneously, also referred to as 'fiberglass'.

Glassmakers throughout history have experimented with glass fibers. Ancient Phoenicians and Egyptians made glass into fibers to use them for decoration, unaware of the potential that lay within it. However, mass manufacture of fiberglass was only made possible with the invention of finer machine-tooling during the late 1930s.

Yemen started using fiberglass in the 1970s. The use of fiberglass to reinforce plastic is the most common usage and most plastic products in Yemen are GRP. Home insulation and as roofing material also remain one of the most common applications of fiberglass in the country. By manufacturing GRP in sheet form and trapping air within them, blocks of glass fiber make good thermal insulation.

The 'glass' in fiberglass is the same basic substance used in windows and glassware. Molten glass is extruded through ultra fine openings measured in microns, resulting in thread-like formations which can be woven together. Different resins can then be added to this fiberglass material, allowing it to be formed and pressed into molds. The result is a heat-resistant, lightweight fiberglass panel ideal for electronic circuit boards or support structures for complex machinery.

Glass-reinforced plastic in Yemen

The first company that started to work in this field is Saeed Cleopatra Company in Sana’a. This company was co-owned by the Hayel Saeed group and Indian experts. The latter sold their share and the company moved to Taiz. There, the group sold the factory to Yemeni investors. The new investors sustained the industry by the name Cleopatra Fiberglass.

Fiberglass is imported to Yemen, mostly from Malaysia, the United Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Today there are more than 20 factories around the country manufacturing GRP and insulations, mostly manually. In Aden there are seven factories, in Hadramout there are nine, while in Hodaidah there are three and in Taiz there is one factory in Mokha.

Ali Hassan Bader, fiberglass expert and production manager at Mokha factory, Hodaidah said, "Factories using fiberglass also manufacture water tanks, bathtubs, sinks, boats, gazebo and chairs."

GRP is the highest quality type of plastic. They have a high resistance to humidity and are very durable. Hence, they are also used to construct boats.

Business in Yemen

Using fiberglass to create plastic products is profitable because there are no expensive machines needed for the manufacturing process. Moreover, raw materials although imported from other countries are not expensive and demand for plastic products made with fiberglass is high.

"Sales four years ago were excellent," Bader said, "now they're very good". Raw materials other than fiberglass include other chemical substances such as polyester in liquid form.

According to Bader, "A factory that starts with a capital of YR 15 million, earns around YR 9 million. YR 15 million is not enough to make high profits" He suggested that YR 25 million would be good capital for better interests.

Owners of workshops that produce fiberglass-reinforced plastic products import the raw materials by containers. Each container carries eight barrels, costing YR 120,000 and weighing 220kg each.

The items produced are enough to satisfy demand. Coastal areas have high demand to fiberglass products, because fishermen prefer to buy fiberglass reinforced boats and water tanks for their high humidity resistance.

Workshops also export water tanks and boats to Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

Workers in these factories are mostly Yemenis. The factory trains them for five months to be able to work in this field. During the training period, employees receive low salary around YR 12,000, but after training, it increases up to YR 40,000.


Although there are many factories in Yemen, only a few of them have introduced high quality, warranted products to the market.

Issa Haddi, technician manager of Bin Laksr fiberglass factory in Aden, said “There are few factories that keep their reputation and present good quality.”

Most investors in this field insist that Yemeni industries using fiberglass face no challenges, but experts disagree, citing a lack of administrative and communication skills that can result in technical faults. The lack of professional marketing and branding for Yemeni products is also a hindrance to the possibility of further exporting overseas.

Yemen, Germany discuss banking cooperation aspects

Executive Manger of Al-Amal Microfinance Bank Mohammed Allai held Tuesday talks with Senior Vice President of KfW Doris Kohn on the aspects of cooperation between the two banks.

The talks dealt with the vision of Al-Amal Microfinance Bank, its objectives and the strategic plan to last for the coming five years which target 5000 customers for 2009 and 100,000 bank's customers for 2013.

During the meeting, official of the German bank praised the banking development during the last period in Yemen, pointing out that German Construction Bank is willingness to encourage micro- investment in Yemen.

Source: yementimes.comAuthor: shangyi

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